It all started with a deflated basketball. Though longtime friends Mike Kennedy and Eric Martin scoured downtown Boston for an inflating needle to fill it, no shops in the area carried one. They were frustrated—and they realized that other Bostonians looking for athletic gear were likely frustrated too. So in 1983, they opened City Sports, a shop stocked with all the footwear, athletic apparel, and sports equipment that the metropolis had been missing.
Nearly three decades later, Mike and Eric's neighborhood business has expanded to 20 shops across the East Coast. In addition to stocking popular brands such as Vibram, The North Face, and Patagonia, the store engineers its own CS by City Sports line. Shoppers include yogis, cyclists, and tennis players—anyone seeking to outfit active lifestyles, whether they're playing a team sport or braving the hike up the world's largest gumdrop. In addition to footwear and apparel, the staff stocks fitness equipment such as kettlebells, lifting gloves, and dumbbells.
Born in Taxco, dubbed the silver capital of Mexico, Tis * tik's owner Perla Brito Cuevas spent her youth rubbing shoulders with local designers at her family's jewelry store. From there, Perla’s love of artisanal jewelry manifested itself in the creation of a Boston boutique where she imports wearable works of art from Mexico's most creative designers, many of whom share her Taxco birthplace. Named for a Mayan term meaning, "a warm welcome to you," Tis * tik amasses the masterpieces of artisans such as Pavel Perez, who twists pure silver into intricate earrings and rings, and Leticia Rayas, who molds real fish scales into colorful necklaces that fit into decorative boxes hand-painted with birds and flowers. Perla rounds out her accessory arsenal with vibrant handbags, some of which have been molded from recycled candy wrappers by jail inmates as part of a rehabilitation program.
Part listening club, part school, Passim is an arts haven dedicated to cultivating creative development and building a vibrant music community. Since 1958, when it operated as a jazz venue under the name Club 47, Passim has brought talented musicians to the region, fostering the local folk and blues scenes and hosting musicians such as Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, and Mississippi John Hurt. The space's life as Club 47 came to a close in 1968, only to transform into an intimate setting where audiences could connect with musicians. Today, Club Passim cultivates this intimacy in its historic listening room, which features more than 400 shows a year ranging from celtic to jazz, and also presents the Boston Celtic Music Festival to showcase the skills of dancers and musicians whose inspiration hails from the British Isles.
Yet in addition to giving them a stage, Passim has supported and cultivated the local community of musical artists for the past decade. The Passim Iguana Music Fund provides career-development grants for musicians, and the lessons, master classes, and workshops at the Passim School of Music instruct more than 800 students every year in everything from guitar and songwriting to fiddle and ukulele.
A Harvard Square landmark since 1991, Boston Bead Company has provided numerous individuals with the training and materials needed to construct jewelry by hand. Introductory classes can cover basic stringing, wire work, knotting, and macrame techniques, preparing students to form their own bracelets, earrings, necklaces, or other eye-catching pieces. Knowing the techniques isn't enough though, so Boston Bead Company's locations feature open stock bins and displays brimming with an ever-changing selection of jewelery-making implements that can include everything from gemstones and freshwater pearls to crystals, nuts, and seeds. Both stores also sell an assortment of specialized pliers, although staff members are also on-hand to help perform basic beading repairs or undo stubborn knots via telekinesis.
Today's side deal stages A Midsummer Night's Dream in the fashion that Shakespeare had always intended it to be staged—with mirror balls, roller skates, feather boas, skimpy costumes, and pounding disco anthems. For $18, you get one ticket in the "Dance Floor" section to see the American Repertory Theater's Donkey Show at the OBERON in Cambridge. This ticket can be used for shows on: 1/29 (8 p.m.), 1/30 (8 p.m. or 10:30 p.m.), 2/5 (8 p.m.), 2/6 (8 p.m. or 10:30 p.m.), 2/12 (8 p.m.), or 2/13 (8 p.m. or 10:30 p.m.). Call or drop by the box office at least 24 hours before your desired showtime to reserve your ticket. You must be 18 or older to attend.
The Baak Gallery is an independent art gallery where the finest works from area artists have been on display since its inception in 1976. This philosophy of cultivating and selling the finest masterpieces continues to this day and has expanded to the world of artistic jewelry. Baak is home to gold creations such as intricate earrings ($75+), necklaces, and bracelets (up to $2,000), while the gallery's sister store, Abrano Silver, is keeper of all things silver.